medico international

16.09.2011

Solidarity among equals in one world

medico international as an actor in the struggle for the right to health

medico international has been campaigning for health to be recognised as a human right for more than 40 years. In 2010 alone, the Frankfurt-based aid and human rights organisation provided funding for over 100 projects run by its partner organisations in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Defending aid, questioning aid and overcoming aid are the guidelines of medico international’s work. By supporting partner organisations, raising public awareness in Germany and Europe, and networking with health initiatives globally, we are contributing to the struggle to change the causes of poverty and adversity. In practical terms this might mean direct emergency aid to survivors of the earthquake in Haiti, for example, which was provided within a few days of the tragedy by our Dominican Republic partners, the health organisation Cosalup, and funding for the International People’s Health University in Kisumu. Both actions have seen the emergence of a new concept of solidarity: one forged between equals in this one world. Haitians do not need the expertise of ‘white’ aid workers to overcome their marginalised situation. It needs their own expertise and support for their resources for self-help and recovery. By strengthening solidarity from below rather than sending own staff, we are making a stand against paternalistic approaches to aid that all too often increase dependence of marginalised people rather than addressing it. Our support for the IPHU is also an attempt to retain, develop and pass on alternative expertise, to go against the ever more mainstream assumption that people’s access to health is subject to market forces. The IPHU convenes regularly in various locations throughout the global south (and also in Brooklyn, New York in 2011) and promotes the exchange of knowledge and specific practical experiences.

Since the banking crisis of 2008 we are experiencing a global renaissance of the idea of social justice . Whether in Cairo, Santiago, Madrid or Tel Aviv, people are going out on to the streets and are demanding democracy infused with the notion that ensures everyone participates. ‘Another world is possible’ is the slogan of the global social forums. For many years this slogan faced criticism from politicians across the world who claimed there was no alternative to a global economic order based on rising inequality. Now we are experiencing an – albeit fragile – return of political thinking. Inherent therein is the idea that all human beings are citizens of this world and thus have rights. The work that medico international carries out is dedicated to ensuring that these rights take shape. We do this as equals among equals in association with our partners across the world and our supporters and donors in Germany.

medico international